Curving, climbing, descending
On steel tracks, the moon keeping pace,
While in ten thousand little towns
The sleepers sleep in the earth.
In ten thousand furious days,
Men, machines, explosives
Blast through the mountains,
Hard labor building highways: The age
Of the motorcar has come and must
Be accommodated. But there are
No real rules yet, and whether
In a plush Pullman smoking car or a flivver
In a field, men will hop up, pulling
Long and deep from jugs of corn whiskey.
The ten thousand days diminish one
By one, and trains, men, swaying,
Drunk, join the sleepers of the little towns;
Sleep, while mountains and fields
Shift and change from what they once
Knew them to be, and cannot, even now,
In their stertorous breathing, imagine
The stranglehold to come.
Christopher Kuhl has been published in Big Muddy, Crack the Spine, OVS Magazine, Euphony, Prairie Schooner, The Anglican Digest, Ensemble Jourine, Inscape Magazine, Kane County Chronicle, Mississippi Literary Review, Piedmont Literary Review, Zzbaggins Poetry Victims, Schuylkill Valley Journal of the Arts, Thin Air Magazine, Tulane Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Alabama Literary Review, OxMag, Superstition Review, The Griffin, Diverse Voices Quarterly, and The Critical Pass Review. His short story, “Wade,” was named the Annual Editor’s Choice of Best Work in Fiction by Inscape Magazine. In 2014, five of his poems were selected to be published as an individual chapbook by Red Ochre Press. Kuhl’s self-published book was awarded an honorable mention in the poetry category in the Writer’s Digest 15th Annual International Self-Published Book Awards, and he came in 10th in the Writer’s Digest Poetry Awards. He also placed first for my poem, “Agon,” in the Mississippi Poetry Society competition.